The 3 Main Advent Colors Are Full of Meaning

Advent Candle Colors
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If you've ever noticed that advent candle colors come in three main shades, you might have wondered why that is. In fact, each of the three candle colors represents a specific element of spiritual readying for the celebration of Christmas. Advent, after all, is the season of planning for Christmas.

During these four weeks, an Advent wreath is traditionally used to symbolize aspects of spiritual preparation leading up to the birth or coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ. The wreath, typically a circular garland of evergreen branches, is a symbol of eternity and unending love. Five candles are arranged on the wreath, and one is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services.

These three principal colors of Advent are packed with rich meaning. Enhance your appreciation of the season as you learn what each color symbolizes and how it is used on the Advent wreath.

Purple or Blue

Purple (or violet) has traditionally been the primary color of Advent. This hue symbolizes repentance and fasting, as denying oneself food is one way Christians show their devotion to God. Purple is also the color of royalty and the sovereignty of Christ, also known as the "King of Kings." So, purple in this instance demonstrates the anticipation of and reception of the coming King celebrated during Advent.

Today, many churches have begun to use blue instead of purple, as a means of distinguishing Advent from Lent. (During Lent, Christians wear purple because of its ties to royalty as well as its connection with grief and, thus, the torture of the crucifixion.) Others use blue to signify the color of the night sky or the waters of the new creation in Genesis 1.

The first candle of the Advent wreath, the prophecy candle, or candle of hope, is purple. The second, called the Bethlehem candle, or the candle of preparation, is also purple. Likewise, the fourth Advent candle color is purple. It's called the angel candle, or the Candle of Love.

Pink or Rose

Pink (or rose) is also one of the colors of Advent used during the third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday in the Catholic Church. Pink or rose represents joy or rejoicing and reveals a shift in the season away from repentance and toward celebration.

The third Advent wreath candle, named the shepherd candle or candle of joy, is pink in color.


White is the color of Advent representing purity and light. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. He is the light come into a dark and dying world. Also, those who receive Jesus Christ as savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

Lastly, the Christ candle is the fifth Advent candle, positioned in the center of the wreath. This Advent candle's color is white.

Spiritually preparing by focusing on the colors of Advent in the weeks leading up to Christmas is a great way for Christian families to keep Christ the center of Christmas, and for parents to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.